Book Review: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark

Anastasia Carter

Burglary, murder, and rape. Michelle McNamara draws you into her non-fiction novel I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by writing of these atrocities.

Her style of writing and the format of her book are one of the weirdest I’ve ever seen. McNamara dives into the case of the Golden State Killer, also known as the East Area Rapist, the Original Night Stalker, or the Visalia Ransacker. She discovered cold cases when she was only a teenager and was immediately drawn in. Later in life, this would cause her to start up her blog, True Crime Diary.

It’s interesting how McNamara jumps from year to year and to all the different sides of the Golden State Killer. She started working on her book in 2013 when she was commissioned to write an article for Los Angeles magazine about the Golden State Killer. McNamara died before she had the chance to write part 3 of her book. In part 3, Paul Haynes, Billy Jensen, and Patton Oswalt pick up where McNamara left off. Their writing style isn’t as in depth as McNamara and changes the tone of the book.

My personal favorite part of the book is the closing letter. McNamara wrote a letter to the Golden State Killer and criticized him for taking away her life. She says at the very end, “This is how it ends for you. ‘You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark,’ you threatened a victim once. Open the door. Show us your face. Walk into the light.”

Unfortunately, the book was released prior to the capture of the Golden State Killer. There is never any mention of Joseph James Deangelo in the book. With knowing the name and true identity of the Golden State Killer, it causes you to compare details talked about in the book to the true criminal.

I would highly recommend reading this book if you are interested in true crime. This book takes it to a point where it doesn’t even seem nonfiction but more fantasy. Overall, McNamara wrote an accurate and fascinating account of the crimes committed by the Golden State Killer.